Mind The (Pay) Gap

imagesI read so much about the difficulties women encounter in the workplace that sometimes I feel we spend too much time highlighting the problems and not enough time proposing positive action to improve situations. I was heartened, therefore, to discover the measures underway in the U.K. to close the gender pay gap.

No one these days believes that it’s justifiable to pay men more than women when they are doing similar kinds of work. The fact that in most industries and professions this is still an issue is offensive and unfair.

In the spring of 2009 the U.K. Government asked the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to help improve gender pay transparency in the private sector and to propose ways to measure and share information on the differences between men’s and women’s pay. This is an important step in the right direction. To bring about positive change we need to raise awareness of the reality of current inequities.

The EHRC has now published its detailed recommendations and what these would mean for employers if they were accepted. In summary, the EHRC recommends that employers find out and disclose:

  • The single figure difference between the median hourly earnings of men and women
  • The difference between men and women’s pay by grade and job type
  • The difference between men and women’s starting salaries

These recommendations are still on the table and continue to be debated in the House of Lords (predominantly men) and then need to be implemented by organizational leaders (predominantly men). Call me naive and optimistic, but it seems to be a significant step in the right direction and I’m hopeful that it will lead to pay equity for women. What do you think?

Download the full report: Equality and Human Rights Commission: Proposals for measuring and publishing information on the gender pay gap.

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